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May 2, 2014 at 2:05 PM

Sigi Schmid talks defense, Copa America and managing Osvaldo Alonso through pain

Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid met briefly with reporters after Friday’s practice, his last interview with media before Saturday’s home game against the Philadelphia Union.

The session was very short, just quickly covering Seattle’s defense seeking its first shutout since Week 3, the 2016 Copa American coming to the U.S. and managing star midfielder Osvaldo Alonso, who has been playing through a hamstring issue.

Here is a transcript:

*     *     *

(You’ve mentioned wanting to get that shutout. How important is it when the offense is putting up two, three, sometimes four goals a game?) “We want to continue to do well offensively. Obviously with the talent that we have, we want those guys to continue to do well and produce, but on the same token, playing well defensively is something you want to do. It something you need as a championship team because there are going to be days when it goes dry for you up top, and you want to make sure you’re in the game. The longer we are in a game, the offense is going to come through. So it’s important from that standpoint.”

(Have you felt better about the defense the past two games?) “Yeah, I think when you look at the last two games, it was a penalty kick against Chivas and the goal we took here once we were up 3-0. When the game has been on the line, I think our defense has been pretty good. I think we’ve concentrated on that and we’ve improved that part of it.”

(What do you think about the Copa America coming to the U.S. in 2016?) “I think it’s great. Obviously the U.S. was disappointed not getting a World Cup in our country for ’18 or ’22 and having the centennial for Copa America here in 2016 I think is fantastic. Obviously you don’t get the European teams, but you still get the (Leo) Messis of the world and the (Luis) Suarez’s and all those guys playing for those countries, the (Radamel) Falcaos and people like that, so it’s going to be a good tournament. In Europe, you always look forward for the (Euros) in between the World Cups, and this is going to be an event that hopefully should be the biggest thing we’ve hosted since we hosted the World Cup in 1994.”

(Was the Osvaldo Alonso sub last week about managing the hamstring issue or did something tighten up?) “If we could get 10 minutes off his body, we figured we could get 10 minutes off his body in that particular game. He feels pretty good. He’s getting better every week. He could’ve gone and played the rest of the game, but we just figured, ‘Hey, if we could get him 10-12 minutes out…’ and Andy hadn’t had his injury after he played against Montreal, so getting him on for 10 minutes was good.”

(How have you handled Alonso and getting him through this issue without shutting him down?) “We’ve just worked together, between Dave Tenney, and him managing (Alonso), and the appropriate training loads and so forth, we’ve gotten him to be able to stay on the field.”

| More in Practice notes, Sounders FC

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